The CPS have recently issued a statement concerning online ‘hate crime’. Here is the statement for racially and religiously aggravated ‘hate crimes’; similar ones are available on the CPS website for crimes motivated by the victims disability, sexuality etc.
There does not appear to be anything new in this guidance, for instance a new interpretation of the legislation or new sentencing guidelines. Instead the statements appear to have been issued in the wake of the Charlottesville demonstration and killing, in order to demonstrate a tough stance on ‘hate’. This is apparent from the DPP Alison Saunders, writing in the Guardian, see here.
The above referenced statement contains the following comment on free speech:
“We acknowledge that people have a right to freedom of speech. It is essential in a free, democratic and tolerant society that people are able to exchange views, even when these may cause offence. However, we will balance the rights of an individual to freedom of speech and expression against the duty of the state to act proportionately in the interests of public safety, to prevent disorder and crime, and to protect the rights of others.”
Restricting speech to prevent disorder and threats to public safety, for instance rioting, is easy to justify and understand. However the reference to ‘crime’ and the ‘rights of others’ is circular and tautologous. Stirring up hatred is a crime per se because it has been made a crime; there is no attempt in the statement to justify doing so. The same applies to the right not to be subjected to ‘hate speech’.
In an earlier article, I made the case for repealing ‘hate speech’ laws and considered the surrounding philosophical issues.
Apparently however, none of these matter because “hate is hate” and online ‘hate’ will inevitably lead to murder. It is not a question of legitimate grievances over issues like replacement level immigration leading to illegitimate responses, “hate is hate” and must be dealt with ever more harshly. No doubt further legislation will need to be enacted ad infinitum to deal with the ever changing phenomenon of ‘hate’.
You can see the video statement of the DPP below: